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The Student News Site of Barrington High School

The RoundUp

The Student News Site of Barrington High School

The RoundUp

The Student News Site of Barrington High School

The RoundUp

1989 (Taylor’s Version): Flop, or Bop?

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FLOP (Larsa's Version):

1989 by Taylor Swift has always had the tracks we know and love, but her rerecording 1989 (Taylor’s Version) would say otherwise. This is very disappointing, especially since it has always been one of her best albums vocally and a fan favorite. Since 2014, I have always loved the pop 80s-vibe, especially with Swift’s catchy infamous songs. My biggest hope was that it would give the same impact and nostalgia that it did back in 2014, but Taylor failed to do this. Almost all of the songs had a very “AI” or fake sound,making them very inadequate and unenjoyable. The songs sound way less dramatic than the original version which took out the fun. “I Know Places” did not have that tone of drama it had in the original. As well as “Clean”, I feel like it was missing the raw emotion it had in the stolen version. What bothered me the most is that I could hear the difference between the two, which really triggered me throughout each song.

As I tried to get used to the songs sounding more “mature”, I realized I couldn’t get over it. This definitely had a big effect on the album. Swift made a few changes to the songs herself. Yes, “Blank Space” and “Style” were 100% victims of this. Not only did she change the high note in the bridge of Blank Space which entirely made a run-down of the song, but she changed the energy “Style” used to have before which let a lot of fans down, including me. The whole aesthetic of this album was changed as well, the photoshoot for the rerecording was giving less “Pop city girl” and more focused on “Beachside girl”, which didn’t empower the city aesthetic 1989 was originally. If it ain’t broke, dont fix it. Sorry Taylor.


BOP (Danny's Version):

While some of the vocals on the tracks may sound a little robotic, 1989 (Taylor’s Version) is still a very sonically cohesive album, as any good album should be. Swift and her co-producers have perfectly blended the 80s pop synth vibe of the original 1989 album with the feel of Swift’s most recent album, Midnights, especially on the (From the Vault) tracks of the album.
While there are some songs that didn’t quite fit this adjusted production (I’m looking at you, “New Romantics”), several songs really benefit from the change in production style, alongside Swift’s matured vocals. Just to name a few, “Out Of The Woods” sounds even more majestic than it did before, the growl in “I Know Places” makes me want to go absolutely feral and “Shake It Off” really benefits from Swift’s increased level of confidence and sass.
With any re-record, Swifties should be anticipating a certain amount of change from the original. Legally, the re-record can’t sound identical to the original master recording (even if most people can’t really tell), and Swift’s vocals, production style and aesthetic have changed drastically in the past ten years — from the iconic pop sound of the original 1989 album to the soothing, folk vibe of folklore and evermore. Even so, I can see why some die-hard fans were disappointed with how drastic some changes were this time around, leaving some feeling like a pop masterpiece was turned into a sort of undecided gray area between pop and indie. But I think that, instead of dwelling in the past, fans should look forward to the rest of what Swift’s musical career has to offer; I’m sure she has plenty more masterpieces for us up her sleeves.

The Vault Tracks

Larsa:

“Slut!” was not what I was expecting it would be. I was expecting for it to be a very energetic, loud, and lively song, but it really was the complete opposite. The song was very docile and mellow, and I’m not complaining. It was very catchy and the lyrics had a deeper meaning to the song with Swift’s past which made it have more of a significance. Its vibe reminded me of “Wildest Dreams” and “This Love”, the more dreamy songs of the album.

Danny:

In a world where 1989 is so New York, “Slut!” is just so LA. This song has such a “beachside glass of wine at sunset” feel that doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the album. 1989 doesn’t shy away from slower, more mellow songs, especially with songs like “This Love”, but there really is a different feel here. I think the deeper lyrical connection really helps this song stand out, given Swift’s history of being a victim of slut-shaming.


Larsa:

“Say Don’t Go” definitely shimmers with a bit of tension, where a lot of 1989 wears its ‘80s influence loosely. If anything it had a slower start than built up to a loud chorus. This song really reminded me of “All You Had To Do Was Stay”, because they really gave off the same chorus to me.

Danny:

“Say Don’t Go” is the one vault song that I feel could have been released back in 2014. The production stays true to the original feel of the 1989 album, especially with the slow build toward a punchy, loud chorus. And that punchy, loud chorus, while sounding upbeat, is truly gut-wrenching, like the best of Swift’s songs are.


Larsa:

This song 100% gave off a mix of 1989 and Midnights. This song was very catchy and bright. 

Danny:

This song perfectly blends the feel of 1989 and Midnights. This song really takes the psychedelic, 80s synthwave aesthetic and runs with it. The lyrics are spot-on, nailing the feeling of watching someone you used to be close to. My only complaint is that this song needs to be longer. At only two minutes and 26 seconds, the way the bridge is used to end the song just leaves me wanting more; or at least a more conclusive ending.

 

Larsa:

I had high expectations for “Suburban Legends” because when Taylor released the names of the vault tracks, this song title really caught my eye; I assumed that this was gonna be better than it really was. It just was not anything special, once again reminding me of a track that could be on Midnights but it also wasn’t bad either it just could have definitely been produced better. 

Danny:

I really had high hopes for “Suburban Legends”, and they really just weren’t met. It just feels too much like a song off of Midnights, with its rambling lyrics and echoey vocals and production. The bridge is really catchy, but it isn’t worth listening to the rest of the song for it.


Larsa:

“Is It Over Now” is THE song out of the 5 vault tracks. The first time I listened to it I already knew that this was gonna be the song and my personal favorite. It just had the energy the original 1989 had and it definitely made an impact, making up for all the other matters of this album. Taylor went for Harry styles with this one. In this song Taylor uses a lot of lyrics that really sets the scene and takes you into Swift’s mind. “Out of the Woods” is definitely a sister song to this one because this song hints about Harry Styles and Taylor’s relationship. Both songs have connections by attempting hidden vocals that Out of the Woods also had in its chorus. The history, the drama, the energy was all there.

Danny:

Every vault collection has the song. And for 1989, this is it. The addictive bridge, the subtle-yet-very-obvious digs at Harry Styles and the just pure amount of sass in this song have kept this song stuck in my head since it came out. But I can see why this song didn’t come out on the original album. Back in 2014, Harry Styles was like the golden child of the decade. This song would have ended Swift’s career back then, if Styles’ army of a fanbase had mobilized against her. So I’m very glad that this song can now see the light of day; it’s just that good.

Which recording of 1989 is better?

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